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Well Ordinance Update

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Permit Sonoma will bring a revised ordinance to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for consideration at 10:30 a.m. on April 4, 2023. Materials are available below. 

To comply with a 2018 decision by the state Court of Appeal, the county will evaluate and require mitigation of impacts of well permits on public trust resources in navigable waterways, such as the Russian River, along with the habitat and wildlife they support, including the endangered Coho salmon. 

On October 4, 2022, the Board of Supervisors directed the Permit Sonoma to convene a Technical Advisory Committee to advise on proposed amendments to Chapter 25B, the County’s Well Construction Ordinance. Further, the Board adopted a temporary moratorium until April 4, 2023, on the processing and approval of applications for water supply well permits submitted on or after October 4, 2022, except for applications for emergency wells. The moratorium was to allow time for the Permit Sonoma to convene a Technical Advisory Committee to advise changes to Chapter 25B. 

Permit Sonoma assembled both a Policy Working Group and a Technical Working Group to aid in development of a revised ordinance. The groups assisted in the development of a new framework for evaluation of environmental impacts during the review of permit applications for drilling new or replacement groundwater wells. Policy working group and joint working group meetings were open to the public. Nine public meeting were conducted between November 17, 2022 and March 1, 2023. Meeting dates and materials are available in the table at the bottom of this page. 

The revised ordinance defines an area referred to as the “Public Trust Review Area” where available information indicates that groundwater pumping has moderate or high potential of impacting public trust resources, including habitat for endangered and threatened salmonids. Within this area, additional review of well permit applications, and water conservation requirements will be recommended. Please visit the Well Ordinance Update - Online Viewer to see the proposed Public Trust Review Area.  

The revised ordinance also includes requirements for well meter installation and water use reporting of a subset of new wells. The draft proposal exempts residential wells from meter and water level reporting requirements. In addition, no metering or reporting is proposed for existing wells. 

The revised ordinance will be brought to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for consideration on April 4, 2023.  Documents are posted below. 

Please direct public comments to: 

April 4, 2023 – Board of Supervisors Hearing »

Well Ordinance Update - Online Viewer »

Documents in PDF format:

Technical and Policy Working Groups

Policy Working Group

The Policy Working Group members represent diverse stakeholder interests and will make policy recommendations based on input from stakeholders and the Technical Working Group. The Policy Working Group is comprised of:


Groups Represented

Mike Martini, Co-Chair

Ag and Development Interests

Rue Furch, Co-Chair

Sonoma County Water Coalition

Brock Dolman

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Monty Schmitt

Nature Conservancy

Charlie Schneider


Ben Campanile

Well Driller

Sandi Potter

Petaluma Groundwater Sustainability Agency Administrator

Mike Sangiacomo

Vineyard Manager

Rob Cantu

North Coast Builders Exchange

Carol Lexa

North Bay Association of Realtors

Dayna Ghirardelli

Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Carolyn Wasem

North Bay Water District

Technical Working Group

The Technical Working Group will develop and assess policy recommendations using scientifically accepted theory, methods, and practices.


Groups Represented

Jay Jasperse

Water Resources Consultant

Retired - Sonoma County Water Agency

Sam Boland-Brien

California State Water Resources Control Board

Jessica Maxfield

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Rick Rogers

National Marine Fisheries Service

Andy Casarez

Office of the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner

Marcus Trotta

Sonoma County Groundwater Sustainability Agencies

Matt Petersen

Well Driller

Laurel Marcus

Agricultural Practices

Brad Petersen

Vineyard Manager

Melissa Rohde

Environmental Consultant

Bruce Abelli Amen

Environmental Consultant

Ken Johnson

Environmental and geotechnical Consultant


Separate meetings of the Technical Working Group and Policy Working Group will take place on alternating weeks through February or March 2023. Policy working group meetings will be held virtually and are open to the public. Zoom links are provided for each meeting in the table below

Date Meeting Meeting Number and Information
11/17/22 Joint Working Groups

Meeting 1

11/30/22 Policy Working Group 

Meeting 1

12/01/22 Technical Working Group

Meeting 1

12/14/22 Policy Working Group

Meeting 2

12/15/22 Technical Working Group

Meeting 2

01/05/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 3

01/11/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 3

01/12/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 4

01/25/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 4

02/01/23 Joint Working Groups

Meeting 2

02/08/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 5

02/09/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 5

02/22/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 6

02/23/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 6

03/02/23 Joint Working Groups

Meeting 3

Past Meetings and Documents

Past Meeting Documents

October 4 – Board of Supervisors Hearing
Please direct public comments to:

September 22, 2022 – Well Ordinance Update Informational Town Hall
Permit Sonoma staff present information and answer questions on the proposed changes to Sonoma County's Well Ordinance slated to go before the Board of Supervisors on October 4, 2022.